Airplane Woes Plague Southwest Customers Over Winter Break


Seniors Lola Lacorte (right) and Sam Weite (left) stuck in Charlotte, NC when they were supposed to be in Key West, FL

By Emily Sawyer, Senior Editor

Airlines at the end of 2022 were slammed with flight cancellations, delays, and deplaning after crazy cold blizzards and ice. People hoping to travel to family for the holidays were met abruptly with overnight airport stays or just turned around and sent back home.

Christmas weekend was slammed with a ferocious storm referred to as the “bomb cyclone.” The Week reported the storm stretching from “the Great Lakes to the Rio Grande, bringing with it snow, high winds, and frigid temperatures.”

The harsh weather conditions forced airlines to make tough decisions that ultimately resulted in many unhappy travelers.

According to the New York Times, Southwest Airlines had reportedly “60% of flights canceled” due to the weather, because of their “inadequate computer systems that made it hard for the airline to get crews to waiting planes and put passengers on alternative flights.”

Overall, FlightAware by Forbes Advisor found that “2,268 flights were canceled nationally from December 11 to December 17, 2022, with 121 of those occurring at the top 10 airports for cancellations.”

As students and staff at Wayne Hills prepared to travel over winter break, some faced said issues.

Wayne Hills Senior Lola Lacorte was one of the unlucky students who faced plane problems: what was supposed to be a 2-hour flight down South turned into a 13-hour-long misery.

Flying with American Airlines, Lola said that the whole thing was “terrible and long. We had a great trip once we got there, but the trips both there and back were headaches.”

Lola had to make emergency landings both on the way down and on the way back as a result of the poor weather conditions.

Southwest Airlines is now offering request reimbursements and refunds for all affected travelers during this time.

Following this holiday break nightmare, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had a computer outage that led to a ground stop in airlines across the nation on January 11, 2023.

According to Fox News “The outage comes as a result of the failure of the FAA’s NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) system, which alerts pilots and other personnel about airborne issues and other delays at airports across the country.”

As a result, more than 5,400 flights within, to, and out of the US have been delayed, and more than 940 flights have been listed as canceled.

Officials have traced the outage to a corrupt file, first reported by CNN. It seems that aging infrastructure is the ultimate cause of all of this chaos, and investments within the FAA will be reevaluated by Congress later this year.